People

FindMyPast Announces Appointment of Ben Bennett as new Vice President of International Business

The following announcement was written by FindMyPast:

London, UK, and Salt Lake City, US 7 January 2014. Findmypast, a leading family history site, has announced the appointment of Ben Bennett as their Executive Vice President of International Business.

From January 2015, Ben will be responsible for the development of Findmypast’s North American market as well as other markets outside of the UK. Ben will become a member of Findmypast’s Senior Management team and will have an important role in building a global structure for Findmypast.

This Day in History: Samuel Morse Demonstrates Telegraph Machine

Portrait of Samuel F. B. Morse taken by Mathew Brady, in 1866. Click on the image to view a larger version.

On January 6, 1838, painter Samuel Finley Breese Morse (1791-1872) gave his first public demonstration of his new telegraph system. Within a few years, telegraph lines were strung across the United States and the Atlantic, completely changing the nature of long distance communication. By the end of the nineteenth century telegraph lines could be found in North and South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. It was the first method of high-speed communications, a concept that has been expanded greatly since 1838.

Before the invention of the telegraph, postal services and messengers were the only common methods of sending information over long distances and even across oceans. Such methods required days or weeks for messages to reach their recipients.

New Pennsylvania Archivist faces a Big Task

David Carmicheal took over as Pennsylvania archivist last month, overseeing 220 million documents. Among them is Pennsylvania’s hallowed founding document, Penn’s Charter, housed for now in a windowless tower next to the State Museum in the Capitol complex. The bespectacled 57-year-old is considered a rock star in a field of professionals who tend to carry out their work behind locked doors and out of the spotlight.

During his tenure as Georgia’s state archivist, Carmicheal was credited with establishing the “virtual vault,” putting 1.5 million records online and leading national efforts on emergency management of priceless collections during disasters.

COSCA Appoints Dr. Bruce Durie As Its Official Seannachaidh

The following announcement was written by the Council of Scottish Clans & Associations:

The Council of Scottish Clans & Associations is delighted and honored to announce the appointment of Dr. Bruce Durie, BSc (Hons) PhD OMLJ FSAScot FCollT FIGRS FHEA as COSCA’s Seannachaidh. Dr. Durie will be consulting on a range of genealogical and ancestral questions and projects for COSCA and its members.

“As Scottish Americans we celebrate our collective and personal heritage with great energy” said Susan McIntosh, President of The Council of Scottish Clans & Associations. “Having an accurate and complete understanding of people and events long past is critical in distinguishing serious pursuit of ethnic heritage from mere hobby. Bruce Durie brings an unquestioned professionalism and depth of knowledge on a huge range of topics and disciplines that are important to almost every Scottish American.”

Regarding his appointment and the opportunity to work more closely with COSCA, Dr. Durie stated “I am, for the record, chuffed to little mint balls and genuinely honoured”. Bruce’s unrivaled professional qualifications, his depth of knowledge, readiness to help and remarkable wit have made him a favorite of Scottish Americans.

NEHGS Presents 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award to Dame Angela Lansbury

The following announcement was written by the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS):

On Thursday evening, November 13, at the Four Seasons Hotel in Boston, Massachusetts, the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) presented Dame Angela Lansbury with a prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award in the Performing Arts with a custom genealogy and multi-generation family tree. The event helped mark the success of the NEHGS Connecting Families, Advancing History capital campaign which has surpassed the $50 million mark of a $55 million campaign goal. Through the campaign NEHGS has acquired the adjacent building at 97 Newbury Street to expand its headquarters to include educational space for school children, a museum shop, and increased exhibition space. The campaign has also supported a major website initiative that will add more than 2 billion new records to the Society’s award-winning website, AmericanAncestors.org.

How A 4-Year-Old Auschwitz Survivor Finally Found His Family

Menachem Bodner, a twin survivor of the Mengele experiments, lost his entire family when he was just a little boy. For 68 years, he did not know what had happened to the rest of his family. He is still searching for his twin brother, but recently found his first cousins in California thanks to a persistent genealogist.

About a year and a half ago, Ynet published the story of Menachem Bodner, a twin survivor of the Mengele experiments, who after 70 years, thanks to a persistent genealogy researcher, discovered his real name, his place of birth and the fact that he has distant relatives living in Israel.

Recently, thanks to a DNA test and a research of his roots in the United States, he also found cousins he never knew he had, and held a video chat with them from California last week.

In addition, for the first time in his adult life, he received a picture of his parents, who were erased from his scarred memory in Auschwitz and who he had not seen since the family was sent to the camps by the Gestapo.

Can You Marry Your Cousin?

Consider this list:

Charles Darwin married his first cousin.

Albert Einstein’s parents were first cousins. Then Albert married his own first cousin. Elsa Lowenthal, Einstein’s second wife, was his first cousin on his mother’s side. In fact, they were also “double cousins.” Lowenthal also happened to be Einstein’s second cousin on his father’s side.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt were fifth cousins, once removed (a chart showing their relationship is available at http://www.gwu.edu/~erpapers/teachinger/q-and-a/q6.cfm).

John Adams married his third cousin, Abigail Smith.

John F. Fitzgerald, former mayor of Boston and grandfather of John F. Kennedy, married his second cousin, Mary Josephine Hannon.

Rudy Giuliani, former mayor of New York, married his second cousin once removed, Regina Peruggi

Donny Osmond Joins RootsTech 2015

One of the biggest names in entertainment from one of the most well-known families in the world will be part of the largest family history conference in the world. RootsTech 2015 announced today that entertainer, actor, author, and television host Donny Osmond will be joining RootsTech as a keynote speaker on Saturday, February 14, 2015. He will inspire the thousands of conference attendees to discover and share family stories of the past, present, and future.

An Automotive Family Reunion: Remember Your Father by Buying his old Car

Stock photo of a 1973 Corvette Convertible, not the one mentioned in the article. Click on the above picture to view a larger version.

Scott Bachman’s father passed away some time ago. When thinking of his father’s life and the times Scott spent with his father, some of his most cherished childhood memories were those of his late father’s beloved orange 1973 Corvette Stingray convertible. Scott was three years old when his father purchased the car. His father died while working on the car.

Years after the father’s death, Scott’s mother sold the car. Scott recently began searching for the car, and when he found it, he bought it.

Jane E. Wilcox Named Contributing Editor of New York Genealogical and Biographical Record

Jane Wilcox is well-known for her radio show: “The Forget-Me-Not Hour: Your Ancestors Want Their Stories to Be Told.” Now she is expanding her role, as described in this announcement:

KINGSTON, N.Y. (October 1, 2014) – Professional genealogist Jane E. Wilcox of Forget-Me-Not Ancestry has joined the team of contributing editors of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Record. Wilcox, an author, national lecturer and radio show host, joins an international group of editors.

A member of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society’s Education Committee as well, Wilcox said, “It is a great honor to be asked to join this distinguished team of contributing editors, which includes three fellows of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society and two fellows of the American Society of Genealogists. I look forward to the collaboration.”

The Record is a peer-reviewed scholarly journal of great distinction in continuous publication since 1870 and is published quarterly by the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society (NYG&B).

An Interview with Paul Allen, Ancestry.com Co-Founder

Many people in the genealogy business know Paul Allen, one of the two entrepreneurs who purchased a small book publishing company, called Ancestry Publishing, in 1997. They converted it into what has since become a multi-million dollar online powerhouse called Ancestry.com. Not bad for a man who started his career by studying Russian as an undergraduate at Brigham Young University with plans to become a professor, like his father.

Justin Heifetz of the Gallup Business Journal recently interviewed Paul Allen and his article is now available online at Gallup’s web site. In the interview, Paul describes his path from starting as a student in Russian, making several side trips into other business ventures, and eventually becoming a successful entrepreneur.

Another Humorous Obituary

Raymond Alan Brownley of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was obviously a self-made man. Quoting his obituary:

“He despised canned cranberry sauce, wearing shorts, cigarette butts in his driveway, oatmeal, loud-mouth know-it-alls, Tabasco sauce, reality TV shows, and anything to do with the Kardashians.”

That’s only the beginning. The obituary is quite long, describing Raymond as “He was generous to a fault, a pussy cat at heart, and yet he sugar-coated absolutely nothing.”

You can read all of it at http://goo.gl/cO3k35.

Jane Wilcox to Interview Robert Charles Anderson on Internet Radio

Here is a notice from “The Forget-Me-Not Hour:”

Robert Charles Anderson will join host Jane E. Wilcox on “The Forget-Me-Not Hour: Your Ancestors Want Their Stories to Be Told” radio show on Wednesday, 20 August at 10:00 a.m. Eastern time. Bob will talk about his latest book — hot off the press — entitled Elements of Genealogical Analysis. He will discuss this genealogical research methodology approach that he has used for more than 30 years in his work on the Great Migration Study Project. He’ll tell us what we can find in the book and how it can help us in our genealogy research.

Listen live or on-demand after the show airs at http://goo.gl/ZJLDWd.

A Tombstone That Says It All

Photo by Alan Jones, used here with permission

Sometimes a tombstone can be brutally honest. Here is one example, as shown in the photograph taken by Alan Jones in the Arrowtown’s Cemetery in Otago Province, New Zealand. You may have to click on the image to the right to view a larger version. Then you should be able to read the bottom line.

Britain’s Oldest WWII Prisoner of War, Survivor of the Notorious Great Escape camp Stalag Luft III, Has Passed Away

The man believed to be Britain’s oldest surviving prisoner of war, who was held captive at the camp immortalized in The Great Escape, has died five days after turning 100. Sergeant Reginald Drake was one of the few remaining British survivors of the infamous Stalag Luft III camp in Zagan, Poland, where 76 men attempted to escape to their freedom in 1944. The airman was based there for 11 months, during the four years he was held captive by Germans during the Second World War.

Teresa Wenzel to Receive Top Award from MoSGA

The Missouri State Genealogical Association (MoSGA) announced Teresa Wenzel, member of the Vandalia Area Historical Society, will be a recipient of the MoSGA Director’s Award to be presented at the state’s annual conference in Columbia on August 1-2, 2014. The MoSGA Director’s Award is given to individuals who have made an exceptional contribution to the field of genealogy and family history over an extended period of time.

You can read the details in an article in the Vandalia Leader web site at http://www.vandalialeader.com/?p=14390.

Victoria Craig’s Interview of Tim Sullivan, CEO of Ancestry.com

Victoria Craig of Fox Business News has published an interview of Tim Sullivan, CEO of Ancestry.com. It gives an insight to the man that you won’t read in his official bio on the company’s web site.

Did you know that Tim’s first job was working for the Washington Redskins? No, he wasn’t the starting quarterback. Instead, the 14-year-old landed a job handing out towels to the team’s players at the summer training camp. He seems to have done well since then, however.

You can read Victoria Craig’s interview and watch a video at http://goo.gl/698kBp.

Man Dead for 200 Years Gets American Citizenship

Sometimes it takes a while to get things done. Bernardo de Gálvez y Madrid, the Viscount of Gálvez, was recently granted honorary American citizenship. Gálvez was a hero of the American Revolution, having led battles against the British at Pensacola and along the Gulf Coast. Galveston, Texas is named for Gálvez.

The Brutally Honest, and Somewhat Witty, Obituary for George Ferguson

Genealogists typically read lots of obituaries but very few of them match the recent one for George Ferguson of Oak Bay, British Columbia. Quoting from George’s obituary:

“What to say about George? Certainly, no one could accuse him of having been a loving son, brother, or father. He’d gladly have stolen the shirt off your back and he was generous to a fault with other people’s money. Was he a small-time con-man with grandiose schemes? Probably. But another view of him is that he was the most exciting member of his family and of the families he married into. He was a poor man’s rhetorician who beguiled certain woman into buying into his promises and dreams.”

Mystery Haunts Woman Left on Doorstep as Baby

Here is a challenge for genealogists: Can you help this woman identify her parents? Admittedly, it will be quite a challenge.

Julie Himebaugh was approximately 6 months old when she was left on a doorstep in the city of Ludington in western Michigan on May 7, 1946. The blue-eyed girl was in a bundle of clothes, baby formula and had a note pinned to her blanket.

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